With the 135 internationally touted cyclists that will pedal their way into the region also comes the potential for Telluride and Mountain Village to see crowds outnumbering those seen at the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival (10,000-plus), as well as media coverage broadcast to over 200 countries. Furthermore, Telluride and Mountain Village could become a regular stop on the Cycling Challenge schedule if they make a good impression while event organizers – and the world – are watching.
All of the attention garnered by Colorado’s newest and most-watched sporting event is expected to be a huge economic boon not just to Telluride but the entire region, as Martelon impressed upon Mountain Village Town Council in his address last week. His entreaty, “All for one and one for all; if we all contribute, we will all succeed,” didn’t fall on deaf ears.
Mountain Village Town Council unanimously agreed to contribute the $37,500 requested by MTI, matching the $37,500 the Town of Telluride will contribute as well as the roughly $36,000 lodgers in the two towns are expected to dedicate to the cause.
A large chunk of those funds will go toward reimbursing hoteliers whose rooms are used at no cost by event staff, athletes, and press. As Martelon explained, $150 per room will be paid back to hoteliers donating space for the event, which will help cover their cost to return the room to the rental pool.
While helping fund an event of this caliber was a “no-brainer” for the Town of Mountain Village, councilmembers did express their hope that the community and its businesses will see a good return on their investment. As Mountain Village Mayor Bob Delves pointed out, “The last miles of this race blast past us, so how do we ensure that we’re maximizing the return to Mountain Village?”
Martelon then described MTI’s ongoing efforts to make the U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge more than just a one-day upsurge in visitors to Telluride and Mountain Village. The Mountain Village’s Festival of the Arts has been moved to the weekend before, and there has been discussion of adding other events like concerts to the August events calendar both in Telluride and Mountain Village to effectively encourage race spectators to come earlier and stay longer.
“If you’re going to come here to watch the race, you’re going to want to park your car on Friday and not move it until Tuesday – and right there you have a five-night’s stay,” Martelon said, pointing out that even though the event technically takes place in Telluride, Mountain Village’s hotels and businesses will certainly see an increase during this period since so much of the area’s bed base is located in Mountain Village.
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge will visit twelve Colorado communities during the week-long race, which begins Monday, Aug. 20 in Durango. Stage one will end on Telluride’s Main Street, amidst the backdrop of the box canyon. Stage two will take riders from Montrose to Crested Butte on Tuesday; Wednesday will brings riders from Gunnison to Aspen; stage four starts in Aspen and ends in Beaver Creek; stage five takes the tour from Breckenridge to Colorado Springs; stage six will start in Golden and finish in Boulder; and stage seven will showcase a time trial finish in Denver.